Nestor wins Australian Open mixed doubles title
Canadian Daniel Nestor is celebrating Grand Slam title No. 8.
The 38-year-old left-hander from Toronto teamed up with Slovenian partner Katarina Srebotnik to defeat Chan Yung-jan of Taiwan and Paul Hanley of Australia 6-3, 3-6, 10-7 in the mixed doubles final at the Australian Open on Sunday.
"There were a lot of tight points there at the end, we were fortunate to win," Nestor said in the post-match trophy ceremony.
The win came in their first, and possibly last, pairing. Srebotnik plans to return to her regular partner, Nenad Zimonjic, for upcoming Grand Slams.
"This was my one shot,' said Nestor, who used to play men's doubles with Zimonjic. "I'm glad I took advantage of it."
Both players have won several doubles titles with other partners.
This was Nestor's second mixed doubles title in Melbourne, after 2007 when he paired with Elena Likhovtseva. He has also won six Grand Slam men's doubles titles.
Srebotnik has won four Grand Slam mixed doubles titles, including the 2010 and 2006 Roland Garros with Zimonjic.
The 29-year-old Slovenian told the post-match news conference she enjoyed playing with Nestor, whom she described as "really calm, a little bit different than Nenad."
But she said she was already committed to resuming her partnership with Zimonjic, whom she called "more fiery," adding that "we already made an agreement, I like to keep my word."
Nestor added, half-jokingly, "I have no problems with her stabbing Nenad in the back, at all."
Zimonjic was supposed to play the mixed doubles tournament with fellow Serbian Ana Ivanovic in preparation for the 2012 Olympics, Srebotnik said. But Ivanovic lost her singles match in the first-round and opted out of mixed doubles due to a minor injury.
Zimonjic paired with Russia's Maria Kirilenko for the No. 3-seeded team and made it to the semifinals where they were beaten by Nestor and Srebotnik.
In the final, Srebotnik and Nestor had nine break points against their opponents and managed to save six of them, while Hanley and Chan were broken three times in five attempts.
Hanley and Chan started strong and got an early break, but Hanley was rattled after getting hit in the face by a ball.
"We were up a break, then you get hit in the face on break point. It's not a nice feeling," Hanley said. "The whole match we were sort of fighting within ourselves a little bit. We couldn't really settle."
The second-seeded Nestor team came back from a break down in each set to win in 73 minutes.
"There was probably no real key, I think just hanging in there early," said Nestor. "In the first we lost serve and then broke back, it was important to stay close.
"I played a bad game to start the second, which kind of lost our momentum, but then we broke right back again. Then they played a pretty good game to break us to win the set.
"It was just trying to win more of the big points, which we did in the tiebreaker. But it was really tight. It came down to one or two points, it was good tennis."
In the deciding third-set match tiebreak, Nestor closed it out with a service winner to set up three match points and finished with another untouchable serve to seal victory.
Nestor, playing with Max Mirnyi of Belarus, made it to the semifinals of the doubles.